Thursday, October 08, 2009

By Rote

Dennis Perrin shares his thoughts on the efficacy of the web as a tool for change (He even mentions yours truly, thanks Dennis) which is certainly well worth reading as are all of Dennis’ posts and essays. Dennis points out that we are too depoliticalized and “scattered to the commercial winds” for even the beginnings of change for the better. I think that’s quite true. It was the last presidential election that really convinced me the web hadn’t really changed anything. Most liberal blogs were convinced that Obama was the answer and shilled for him ceaselessly and were fond of saying that once Obama was in office (the only important thing) that he should be pressured to pursue progressive policies. Though of course what happened was once Obama was president all pressure ceased immediately and liberals went into defense mode.

People often ask “why this” or “what do we do” as if there is some kind of recipe that will ensure change for the better yet there isn’t any sure road any more than Obama has a sure road in Afghanistan. If Obama really knew what he was doing he wouldn’t be changing plans in Afghanistan like some people change their underwear. If people are really committed to some kind of change they should eliminate what doesn’t work even if it has worked in the past. Things like voting, protesting, calling reps, writing the president, signing petitions, to bring change obviously don’t work the proof being that Bush’s horrendous domestic and foreign policies remain largely unchanged. The web helped elect a Democrat but that no longer signifies much of anything. There is no easy answer for any of this. I certainly do not advocate violence for even if a violent revolution succeeded the new government would quickly devolve into something like it already is unless there was some kind of real sea-change in our culture. Plus violence is what I am against in the first place.

Dennis articulates a very realistic answer so check out what he has to say.

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12 Comments:

At October 08, 2009 6:22 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

If we can't use violence, what are we left to do?

 
At October 08, 2009 7:10 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Jenny,

Check out Dennis Perrin’s post and as for violence how often does violence solve anything, mostly it creates more violence. You could start a blog and speak out against imperialism, it’s not much but it’s a start because too many really don’t realize or care what imperialism entails and that is what needs to change before any other change can begin.

 
At October 08, 2009 8:01 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Even there though, he sounds very cynical and he seems to be talking about an armed struggle of sorts in the second to last paragraph.

 
At October 08, 2009 9:04 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Jenny,

It’s too easy to dismiss people with the word “cynical.” When you are attempting to identify a problem you try to be accurate, no?

 
At October 09, 2009 12:11 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

I understand that,but if violence only produces violence, the internet is a failiure,and petitions, protests,etc. are unworkable than what else is there to do? If marching protests in Honduras and the like against oppressive regimes are inspiring to others,why can't we do it here?

 
At October 09, 2009 12:47 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Rob n' Jenny-
somewhat coincidentally, I just went to Black Agenda Report, where Bruce Dixon has a post up now, "Will Civil Disobedience For Health Care Make Obama and Dems Listen?"

I realize that you are perhaps more interested in our military and foreign policy than the healthcare debate, but in my eyes everything radiates out from basic welfare state conceptions about our debt to one another and I can't help but think that one of the reasons people are as seemingly unconcerned in their views of imperial America is the uncertainty and fear that undergirds so much of our day to day lives, blunting our capacity for compassion.

A blogger, I think it was Barbara O'Brien of Mahablog, once observing that today's students may be less radical than their counterparts in the 60s because state-supported colleges were so cheap in those days, and college kids from ordinary backgrounds weren't saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans(like today's kids are), a freedom which predisposes people to take more political risks.

Don't know if it's true, but it's an interesting take.

 
At October 09, 2009 1:46 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

Jenny,

We can do it here but to what end when none of it is effective? The web isn’t so much a failure as the way it was used was a failure. And to be perfectly honest I don’t have answers to your question as far as what to do other than what I already said. If change relies on a change of awareness among the general population as I think it does it’s not something you can force or make happen or I don’t think it is. Really I don’t see much of anything changing any time soon, not in my lifetime. There are so many layers of lies that it is hard to even know where to begin and people have written about it extensively already though they are largely ignored or relegated to the “fringe” as they say. The wars that are now raging shall continue unabated, plans and strategy will change but nobody is calling the slaughter off. Even Code Pink thinks we should stay in Afghanistan which is even worse than the typical silence of the other supposed anti-war movements. So where is the pressure on Obama that we heard so much about from the liberals during the election? Nowhere to be seen, vanished, evaporated, poof. That’s part of what we are up against. As long as a Democrat is in the White House we can all go to sleep and trust in government. Good luck with that one. I don’t mean you personally, just in general.

Jonathan,

I liked the link and Black Agenda is always worth reading but I still feel pretty much the same. I mean you posted the G20 video and we saw the G20 goon squad Star Wars refugees squash the protestors. I was there in the sixties and I believe some social change actually occurred as a result of people getting out and getting involved which is what needs to happen again with the caveat that it will have to be something different than what occurred back then. What that might be I don’t know like I already said. I’m interested in health care reform, very much so but I never expected anything to come of it. My own take on it is with the high rate of unemployment health insurance companies must have been losing customers so they get Congress to bail them out by putting them on welfare and screwing the rest of us. It’s actually a very good example of corporate control and why what we want doesn’t matter in the least. Bear in mind I’m in no way saying give up or throw in the towel I’m just saying it’s time to find something that works, something for these times when the government control is almost absolute. In fact I’ll turn right around and ask you and Jenny what do you think we should do? I mean both of you know as much or more than I do, what do you think might work?

 
At October 09, 2009 3:13 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

I think protesting is much better than sitting and bemoaning our state of affairs. I'm part of a glbt group at my college for instance where we help make the institution a better place for students with different sexual orientations, so join a group and plan a march for healthcare,gay marriage/adoption rights, abortion rights or better yet, prepare a march for all three!

 
At October 09, 2009 5:09 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Jenny,

If your aim is to achieve some kind of goal then you need to know first what the problems are. Once you have identified the problem(s) you now have a chance of resolving it/them. So now you try to come up with ways of resolving problems that stand in the way of your goal. You try one avenue and if it doesn’t work you try something else. These are my main points and how that translates into bemoaning things escapes me at the moment. It’s only logic but what isn’t logical is to repeat the same exercise that fails to achieve whatever goal you are after and expecting your strategy to work even after it has failed time after time. I’m all for people of different sexual orientations feeling comfortable in their institution of choice but my concerns are more with the innocent people that are being slaughtered by the hundreds on a weekly basis by U.S. forces.

 
At October 09, 2009 10:11 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Understandable, sorry for my non sequiter.

 
At October 09, 2009 11:28 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Jenny,
There’s no need to be sorry, you are willing to discuss these things where many people would rather just ignore it or hide behind obstinate fantasies.

 
At October 13, 2009 11:16 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Hell, even some democratic socialists are in favor of staying in Afghanistan: http://theactivist.org/blog/cpd-end-the-wars-in-afghanistan-and-pakistan (check the comments)

On the other hand, the anti-war.com interview with the code pink leader was awfully condescending in my view.

 

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